9 February 2018 – Out of the many definitions of the term “philosophy” let us use the following (English Dictionary) as our point of departure: It is defined as “a set of ideals, standards or beliefs used to describe behaviour and thoughts”.

In our game it is the big idea which serves as a template as to how to best play our football as influenced and informed by different factors such as our gifts as individuals, our genetics, environment, climatic conditions, culture, history etc as shown in our daily attempts at life and in sport, football in particular.

From that great symposium in 2011 at the Sandton Convention Centre to 2016, all the above mentioned factors and many more, were interrogated and discussed in greater detail and the final product is the South African Football Philosophy (SAFP).

A special thanks to all who committed their time, effort and expertise directly and indirectly to the crafting of this ground breaking process that is intended to bring our very best performances against the best in the world.

This SAFP outlines what we believe is an evidence-based way of playing our game, our way without losing sight of the strides made by the game around the world over the years.

Let us use the following points in an attempt to understand The South African Football Philosophy

  1. Individual Freedom of expression is non-negotiable but in context. The best gifts of the individual are encouraged, not for their own sake but to serve the collective (team) needs. The application and employment of skills and tricks by the individuals should be seen as the building blocks which should be harnessed into a weapon to create and utilise space and time on the field.
  2. Individuals, at all levels are encouraged to take the initiative without the fear of failure.
  3. Where failure occurs, as life on the field has such possibilities in abundance, the individual is encouraged to try again without losing self-esteem.
  4. Training and practice must always stimulate the individual in a group and team context.
  5. No matter the stage of training, all sessions must always resemble game character within which all skills and tactics are learnt as a coherent package. Football itself is a “united package” and any attempt to isolate its salient elements without appropriate integration is unhelpful.
  6. Players “learn the game by playing the game”. Put differently “the game is the best teacher”.
  7. Training accent should be a phase within, and intended to build the holistic game oriented support of the player
  8. The coach must always strive to put the player at the centre of all actions and coaching activities.
  9. At all times, players must be challenged to read situations, decide on the action to overcome the situation and act decisively with confidence. (Perceive, decide and act)
  10. Effective training sessions are those that encourage players to successfully transcend zones to and fro on the field in the spirit of “multi-functionalism”


It may well be true that more explanation may be required to make even better sense of these points. This will follow in due course. We are simply at part 1.


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